Healthcare challenges for people suffering from anemia are manifold. Sickle cell anemia is one form of anemia that is in the news these days. Most Indians suffer from anemia when the blood has fewer red blood cells or hemoglobin.


Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disorder in which red blood cells become sickle or crescent-shaped. Due to these weird shapes, the blood flow prevents oxygen from reaching nearby tissues. A standard red blood cell is flexible and round in shape.

Due to a lack of hemoglobin, red blood cells take the shape of a sickle or crescent moon. The infected cells turn rigid and sticky, making them difficult to maneuver.

Normal red blood cells have a life span of 120 days. In the case of sickle cells, the life span diminishes from 10 to 20 days. The spleen, which helps to filter the blood of infections, sometimes kills the cells due to their weird shape. This results in less blood flowing through the system, leading to anemia.


A person suffering from sickle cell anemia may experience pain in certain body parts. The cells cannot move, leading to blockages in the blood vessels and pain. Sudden episodes of throbbing pain may occur in any part of the body.

Other indications are swelling of hands and feet, frequent infections, vision issues, and delay in puberty. Severe symptoms are stroke, organ damage, blindness, leg ulcer, pregnancy complications, etc.

Preventive measures

A child born with sickle cell is likely to encounter severe health challenges in life. A genetic counselor can explain the risks of a sickle cell-infected baby. Collecting a sample from the amniotic fluid will help detect the disease.

Regular blood tests on newborns will help detect sickle cell disease. Pain-relieving medicines will help to a greater extent. Administering penicillin to children below the age of five will help prevent pneumonia.

Blood transfusion and medicine intake will help to a much larger extent. Advent in the health sector allows us to tackle the disease much more. Gene therapies are a boon to many. Other forms are stem cell transplant, gene editing therapy, etc.

Regular medicines, keeping hydrated, and avoiding smoking will help patients.



Various healthcare initiatives are being undertaken to raise public awareness of this type of anemia. The general population is not so well informed, and patients miss out on vital treatment options. The focus should be on creating awareness among the tribal population and people in far-flung rural areas.

Healthcare innovations in treating sickle cell anemia will be a game-changer. Timely intervention will be the key to success.